I could focus on the fact that the moms in this video all look the same: upper/middle class Or that they are almost all white. Or I could discuss the churchy overtone. Instead, let me concentrate on its message: while we moms are notoriously hard on ourselves, our kids see less imperfection and more of the simple, basics that are right there in front of them. Watch this and do the exercise yourself. Imagine what your kids would say, if they aren’t able to talk yet. Leave me a comment below to share what you said and what they did.
“I wonder if these public loo feeds offend her,
’cause I’m getting tired of discretion and being polite.” – from the video
New moms need as much support as they can get…no matter where or what they choose to feed their baby. Spoken word poet Hollie McNish tackles the issue of breastfeeding in public in this performance that will swirl in your heart long after she stops speaking. Give yourself 3 minutes to watch.
A 6 year old girl is “sad” because she can’t get married to a football player. She’s, you know, too young so she cries about it and the video goes viral. Football player learns about it. He comes to the rescue with a “marriage proposal”. Girl happy. Everyone sighs by the adorableness of it all.
Why this is f*ed up:
The sexualization of girls is a problem. But wait, some of you cry out, there’s no sex going on here! And to that I reply sexualization, not sex. Sexualization in the sense that little girls are commodified as adult, straight women with adult desires when they aren’t. JJ Watt’s “marriage proposal” and its accoutrements of ring pop, flowers, “dress” and dancing sexualizes this little girl. The adult speaking in the video, “he’s handsome, isn’t he?” does the same. When we sexualize girls, we foist adult feelings, desires and behaviors on them in a way that not only isn’t appropriate but that they can’t possibly be ready for. Sexualizing young girls also reinforces harmful gender stereotypes (man= pursuer, woman= someone to be wooed, rescued) which in turn can confuse them as to what a healthy relationship actually looks like. Lastly, sexualizing young girls also puts pressure on them to act older than they really are, like little Breanna in the video, without an understanding of their own behaviors. How confusing! It’s not hard to see why a sexualized little girl might then in a provocative manner, acting out sexually or worse.
Where we go from here:
I think we want our daughters to define their own happiness, to learn through play and other organic ways what makes them happy, not learn how happiness is defined through television, advertising or other media. My daughter is only 8 months but it still strikes me as important to let her be her age, now and in the future. Let her play with trucks…or dolls. We’ll be skipping Disney for obvious reasons and I hope one day she’ll be a ninja for Halloween instead of a princess. I want her to feel good about herself as long as she possibly can and I’ll help her get there by allowing her to be a child when she is a child.
For more on the sexualization of girls, see So Sexy So Soon website or pick up the book.
And here’s the video if you haven’t seen it.
What behaviors have you noticed in little girls (or boys) which cause you concern? Share a thought below.